Category Archives: Local government (city & county)

northeRn larimer county gets noticed…FINALLY

The residents who live in the vicinity of the oil and gas wells in northern Larimer County — such as the Hearthfire neighborhood and County Road 13 — know all too well all about leaking tanks, foul odors and unsafe air pollution; and finally this attracted some media attention. The Larimer Alliance is thankful for this story in the Coloradodoan that was published December 6, 2021:

Oil company hasn’t replaced leaking tanks near Fort Collins despite months of complaints

It was certainly a great effort by the reporter Jacy Marmaduke, the people she interviewed, and especially the videographic work by Earthworks’ Andrew Klooster.

As Ms Marmaduke accurately described, existing oil and gas wells and transmission facilities have fallen through the cracks of industry regulations. Even though SB-181, the 2019 law that dramatically reformed how oil and gas is regulated, and empowered local city and county authorities, in theory, to write their own regulations about oil and gas operations, these have only applied to new wells — leaving existing operations to continue to be regulated by the state. This has come as quite the disappointment of local residents who were hoping for some help and relief from the continuing air pollution.

As we’ve come to find out, when existing tanks start leaking, the state regulators have been slow to react; as the hapless residents having to endure the foul air have found out. It has taken months of effort by local residents complaining to the authorities responsible, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, to get them to inspect the sites.

Unfortunately, it will likely take many more months of efforts by citizens calling out for redress to fix the problem. Please show your support by either commenting here, sending your thanks to the Coloradoan for the above story, or contacting your city and county offices to express your concerns.

larimer county climate smart initiative

We have received the following message from Heidi Pruess, who is the Program Manager for Larimer County’s Climate Smart Initiative. They have established a task force to formulate processes and programs, and are organizing a series of workshops to get community input on just what sort of climate projects the County should take on. A questionaire is included in the message. Note: from the introductory page of that questionaire, advance using the Back/Next/Arrow to advance the pages:

Please help us Spread the Word!

Larimer County has launched the Climate Smart Initiative and we want your feedback!

This initiative is in the information gathering and community feedback phase.  This means that we want your feedback as well as feedback from your friends and family.  

This questionnaire aims to introduce the initiative to the community, to understand where we all stand on climate, and to recruit participants for workshops in February 2022. Community feedback will inform the development of the County’s first Climate Smart Plan.  

Take a look at our new website here and please take this short, 10-minute questionnaire. Please help us in spreading the word about this important initiative; forward any email and social media notices to your networks. 

Contact me should you have any questions or you can sign-up for an in-person meeting or an on-line workshop on our website,

Heidi Pruess, CEP

Climate Smart and Sustainability Program Manager

200 W. Oak, Suite 2000

Fort Collins, CO 80521

W: (970-498-7138)

[email protected]

COMMENTS TO BOCC ON O&G EMISSIONS NORTHEAST OF FORT COLLINS

On Tuesday, September 28, Doug Henderson delivered these remarks in the Administrative Matters meeting of the Larimer Board of County Commissioners. Tim Gosar, Gayla Martinez, Cory Caroll, and Jonathan Singer (LOGIC’s new executive director) also made comments to the Board:

Good morning Commissioners,

In a Tues morning BoCC meeting in June, we addressed the problem of
harmful, often illegal, emissions from oil & gas facilities – emissions
that damage people’s health, degrade air quality, and gravely harm our
planet’s climate.

We presented evidence about such emissions from a Prospect Energy
facility northeast of Fort Collins, including imaging of the emissions
taken by Earthworks in January and March 2021. A local resident also
told of his experience, health impacts, and harm suffered for years from
toxic emissions from this facility.

After the January investigation by Earthworks, a complaint was submitted
to the state, and Prospect subsequently said it had stopped the leaks
and emissions.

The next investigation in March showed that the facility was still
leaking, and another complaint was submitted to the state.

Prospect then actually made some repairs, and the leaks and emissions
stopped. At least temporarily.

But before long, local residents again were suffering from emissions
from this facility. So in early September, Earthworks investigated
again. Here is video from that investigation – which shows the facility
was leaking again
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAWHJ8CzY5E

The illegal emissions documented in January, March, and September this
year are not the first. CDPHE cited Prospect last November for
regulatory non-compliance and illegal emissions at this facility – for
violations documented in November 2018, June 2019, and October 2019.

(A copy of the letter from CDPHE to Prospect Energy is attached.)

Only 2 months after CDPHE’s warning letter to Prospect, Earthworks
documented the January 2021 violation. Then came more documented
violations – in March and again earlier this month.

A few weeks ago, Earthworks also documented illegal emissions from
another Prospect facility in the Hearthfire neighborhood
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC1anPkau_E

Unfortunately these emissions happen at O&G sites all the time. This is
oil & gas business as usual, how the industry has operated for decades.

Colorado law is clear: protection of public health holds priority in oil
& gas development. Larimer County’s oil & gas regulations uphold this law.

It is time to protect public health and the environment from these
harmful and illegal emissions.

It is also time to hold Prospect Energy fully accountable for its record
as a repeat violator.

Thank you for your attention to this.

Doug Henderson

Doug, along with our colleagues in Earthworks, has also been maintaining communication with Cassie Archuleta, Air Quality Program Manager for the City of Fort Collins, bringing attention to these sites Northeast of Fort Collins. Particular attention has been paid to one located near the Hearthfire neighborhood.

PEOPLE: WHERE DOES THE LARIMER ALLIANCE GO FROM HERE?

A version of the following was posted to our community and allies on September 7. Do fee free to comment. . . 

 

The Larimer Board of County Commissioners passed an amended set of regulations for oil and gas development in a marathon session on the night of Thursday, July 29th.

For over two years, the Larimer Alliance has worked to inform our members and community, rallying their support to key hearings at both the County and State level for improved regulation of this environmentally dangerous industry. The support and input of our membership and many allied groups have been key in securing improved regulations. . . which still leave much to be desired in terms of comprehensive protection.

The question is: Where do we go from here?

While it is clear the County Commissioners have paid attention to some of our concerns, there is much that needs to be done to ensure the regulations as they exist are enacted effectively, and to continue advocating for improvements to the regulation of oil and gas projects in Larimer County. 

What does our membership at large think of future activity on behalf of health and environmental protections in Larimer County? What elements of the new regulations concern you? What activity would you be interested in participating in to move the cause of environmental protections forward? What do you actually think of further activity in this regard?

We need to hear from you. . . and your HELP

in implementing your ideas going forward!

An ad hoc gathering of some of our steering committee has identified a few areas of potential activity, which we have listed below. But we wouldn’t be here without your interest and energy. . . and we need  your continued interest and energy to define and pursue the way forward! 

Suggested areas of focus:

  • Advocating at both the County level and with the City of Fort Collins for improved air quality monitoring, possibly using state and federal severance tax and mineral extraction proceeds to fund such stations.
  • Monitoring the implementation of the new State and County oil and gas regulations, including tracking the permit applications as they are filed and processed.
  • Monitoring the water quality issues associated with the “recycling” of “produced” (read: “waste”) water from drilling sites, assuring compliance with relevant State and Federal regulation.
  • Working alongside allied groups to encourage the Platte River Power Authority to stick to their commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2030, with no additional natural gas units.
  • Lobbying our State legislators for an expansion of the Office of Just Transition to ensure oil and gas workers displaced by shifts to renewable energy sources have opportunities to train for new jobs in an expanding green energy sector. 

These are only a few potential initiatives the Larimer Alliance

could pursue going forward from here. 

What do YOU think should be the vital point of focus?

 

As ever, we rely on the support and input

of our members and community!

For all you do, we thank you!

www.larimeralliance.org

Check on relevant events on our Calendar Page!